The focus of this assessment is discovering where the needs of the IAL project environment connect with what you have learned in your program and in your own experience. The goal is for you to identify an organization and site supervisor for your project and to work with your site supervisor to identify an area of need in the environment that will become the focus of the rest of the course as you develop a project proposal to address this need.
ORGANIZATION AND SITE SUPERVISOR SELECTION
The first step in your project is to identify an organization and a site supervisor who will work with you. In some action learning and research circles, there is a person called a “critical friend” who serves a similar role. Essentially, you will be looking for someone who is connected with your target organization who can help you by not only being a sounding board but also by serving as an insider to help you find the information you need. Ideally, this person would also be involved with helping change happen in areas targeted by your project.Your site supervisor will be vital in the most critical phase of your project—the discovery phase—during which you will investigate critical issues you will need to consider when designing your project proposal for the organization you have chosen.A site supervisor serves a key role in understanding the pulse of an organization. This person can be critical in helping you identify key stakeholders you may need to involve in your planning process and in facilitating collaborative dialogue around potential solutions. At this time, select someone within the organization that you have chosen for your project. This person should be:
- In a position to facilitate change on a fairly broad level within the organizational environment.
- Willing to devote his or her time to this project.
- Responsible for an area within the environment that is related to your course of study, or that encompasses an area related to your course of study.
- Willing to participate in and support this project.
Once you have selected a site supervisor, create a short description of this person that includes the following. You will include this description in your environmental scan document.
- Basic contact information.
- The site supervisor’s role and length of time with the organization.
- How you contacted or met this person.
- Relevant information about the person and his or her role that may be important.
As you will begin laying the groundwork for developing your project proposal, the first step of this process is to examine the environment that will serve as the context for your project. An environmental scan provides an initial analysis of key internal and external factors affecting the organization to identify critical problems that might be addressed by IT solutions.
The structure you will use for this scan is called a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis. Using SWOT, first look at the strengths of the environment, organization, or industry that you are analyzing. Second, examine weaknesses in that same environment. After you spend time looking at the internal strengths and weaknesses of the target environment, look at the opportunities and threats the target environment faces.Designing appropriate IT solutions strategies requires that you consider a combination of those four factors, two internal to the organization (factors that the organization has control over or that result from its own actions) and two external influences (factors that the organization is experiencing as a result of another organization or outside influence).The SWOT analysis should provide a clear picture of the organization, industry, or environment that includes information about resources, people, cultural factors, plans, and problems. The goal of gathering this information is to provide a basis for you and your site supervisor to talk about areas that could be addressed by your project. Once you have decided on a problem or area you wish to improve in the environment, the rest of the project can proceed from there.At this time, conduct a SWOT analysis of the organizational environment you have identified for your project. Create a document up to three pages long that summarizes the most important findings of your analysis. Also include a description your site supervisor’s (critical friend’s) role in the environment.
A project charter is a document that contains sections detailing project business case, project objectives, a summary schedule, a summary budget, project success criteria, and other pieces of information. For this part of the assessment, complete the following:
- Research the process of creating a project charter.
- Write a paragraph or two that discusses the intersection between what you discovered in the SWOT analysis and the requirements for a project charter.
Remember: In this project, you are the central figure. This is about the culmination and blending of all of your learning and experiences so far and creating change in an environment through the change of your own practice and the deepening of your own understanding of key issues. Do not forget to include yourself in this picture.
The format of your environmental scan document should be of your own choosing. Your completed environmental scan document should include the following components:
- Site supervisor description.
- Introduction to the organization and current situation.
- Identification of the problem, issue, or improvement area chosen.
- SWOT analysis.
- Description of the intersection between a SWOT analysis and a project charter.
- Conclusions based on the SWOT analysis.
Criteria Non-performance Basic Proficient Distinguished Collaborate with a site supervisor to identify an IT project subject.
Does not identify the site supervisor and his or her role in the environment. Identifies the critical site supervisor and his or her role in the organizational environment. Collaborates with a site supervisor to identify an IT project subject. Includes a detailed description of the site supervisor, his or her role in the environment, and his or her relationship to various aspects of the environmental scan. Provide a thorough environmental scan that details problems in the environment.
Does not provide an environmental scan that details the problems in the environment. Lists elements of an environmental scan that details the problems in the environment. Provide a thorough environmental scan that details the problems in the environment. Provides a thorough environmental scan that details the problems in the environment and draws further conclusions. Describe the intersection between a SWOT analysis and a project charter.
Does not list the intersection between a SWOT analysis and a project charter. Lists the intersection between a SWOT analysis and a project charter. Describes the intersection between a SWOT analysis and a project charter. Analyzes the intersection between a SWOT analysis and a project charter. Research the process of developing a project charter.
Does not identify the process of developing a project charter. Identifies the process of developing a project charter. Researches the process of developing a project charter. Researches the process of developing a charter and makes recommendations for improved charter elements using examples from research. Communicate in a manner that is professional and consistent with expectations for members of the IT profession.
Does not communicate in a manner that is professional and consistent with expectations for members of the IT profession. Communicates in a manner that is at a graduate level and consistent with expectations for members of the IT profession. Communicates in a manner that is professional and consistent with expectations for members of the IT profession. Demonstrates advanced levels of communication that are scholarly, professional, and consistent with expectations for members of the IT profession.